Fishy tales – you don’t need fish oil supplements

| 22 February 2024
minute reading time
Fish oil

Many labels on fish oil supplements make unsubstantiated health claims, according to this study. They found that 74 per cent of around 2,800 supplements made at least one claim relating to heart, brain or joint health. Extensive research shows there is no cardiovascular benefit to taking fish oil supplements and at high doses, they can increase the risk of atrial fibrillation (fluttering or pounding heart palpitations).

Lead author, Dr Ann Marie Navar, said: “As a preventive cardiologist, I tell my patients that if they are taking fish oil to try to avoid heart disease, they can stop because it’s not helping them. Their money would be better spent on something that will actually prevent a heart attack, like more fresh vegetables, blood pressure or cholesterol medication or a gym membership.”

Assadourian JN, Peterson ED, McDonald SA et al. 2023. Health Claims and Doses of Fish Oil Supplements in the US. JAMA Cardiology. 8 (10) 984-988.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
Justine joined Viva! in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. After working as a campaigner, then researcher and writer, she is now Viva!’s head of research and her work focuses on animals, the environment and health. Justine’s scientific training helps her research and write both in-depth scientific reports, such as White Lies and the Meat Report, as well as easy-to-read factsheets and myth-busting articles for consumer magazines and updates on the latest research. Justine also recently wrote the Vegan for the Planet guide for Viva!’s Vegan Now campaign.

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